A Southern California cop who became annoyed at a citizen recording him and his cop buddies from a sidewalk walked up to the man and knocked the phone away before claiming it was “an accident.”

But it was clearly not an accident.

It was just an example of a Santa Barbara police officer who believes he is above the law, unafraid to walk up to a citizen and batter them, even while pretending to record himself.

Santa Barbara cop

Sgt Eric Beecher.

Our research indicates the cop was Sgt Eric Beecher, who was on duty that night, meaning he was supervising the other cops.

When the citizen demanded an explanation, one of the sergeant’s buddies stupidly said, “we can film you too, right?”

“But you can’t touch me and knock the phone out of my hand,” the man, who goes by Santa Barbara Man on Youtube, responded.

When Santa Barbara Man kept complaining, the sergeant and his four fellow cops stood staring at the man like a uniformed street gang, ready to pounce and beat him as we know they would.

According to the Youtube description:

This video is from a man assaulted by a Santa Barbara Police officer on March 7th 2015. The man filming the incident is holding his camera approximately 1-2″ away from his face as the officer strikes the camera and the man in the head while doing so. There will be a complaint filed with the police department and the results will be posted.

The extended version is here showing 4 min before the incident

UPDATE: PINAC Investigative Researcher Felipe Hemming obtained the following statement from the Santa Barbara Police Department:

I wish the topic of our phone conversation was different, but nevertheless, thank you for your courtesy and professionalism. My response is below:

I appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention. Chief Camerino Sanchez and his command staff have reviewed your article and the associated video; an administrative investigation into the matter has subsequently been initiated.

Because an active investigation is now underway, I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics of this incident. However, I want to assure you that we take allegations of misconduct by our personnel very seriously. I would encourage anyone who believes that they have been subjected to misconduct by an employee of the Santa Barbara Police Department to make a personnel complaint; it will be investigated.

Sgt. Harwood

Sergeant Riley L. Harwood
Santa Barbara Police Department
Community & Media Relations / PIO

So we’ll see if Beecher does, in fact, gets disciplined because the way he acted, he believed he had complete impunity.

Eric Beecher